11/30/2011 06:55 PM
When: 10:00 PM ET, Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia
THE STORY: Roberto Luongo is ready to return to the crease. Considering how well Cory Schneider has been performing, though, Luongo may have to wait a while longer. Schneider is expected to make his sixth straight start Tuesday as his Vancouver Canucks kick off a four-game homestand against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Schneider took over for Luongo when the former captain went down with an upper body injury in mid-November and lost his first start. But the 25-year old has posted a pair of shutouts and allowed a total of three goals while reeling off four consecutive victories. Those numbers do not bode well for Columbus, which enters with an eight-game losing streak against Vancouver. The Blue Jackets, who are beginning a four-game road trip, have playing better away from home, however. They have gone 1-0-2 in their last three road contests after losing their first seven.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FS Ohio (Columbus), RS Pacific (Vancouver)
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (6-14-3): Columbus will be starting its backup goaltender Tuesday as well. Curtis Sanford has filled in admirably for the concussed Steve Mason, going 3-1-2 with a 1.45 goals against average in six contests. The 32-year old former Canuck is 5-0-2 with one shutout and a .951 save percentage in seven career meetings with the reigning Western Conference champions. Vinny Prospal's next point will be the 700th of his career.
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (13-9-1): Luongo has been saying all the right things as he serves as Schneider's backup. "We all want to play, but at the same time, I'm not going to put my agenda in front of the team's," Luongo told NHL.com. "The bottom line is about the Vancouver Canucks winning games, and that's what I'm all about. ... (Schneider) deserves what he's getting. He's got unbelievable talent and there's no doubt in anybody's mind that he could be a starter in this league." Schneider said he's given coach Alain Vigneault no choice. "Sometimes you catch lightning in a bottle and gotta go with it," he said. "Part of my goal last year was to gain (Vigneault's) trust and my teammates' trust, and hopefully I have that now."
1. Sanford is back in the NHL for the first time since going 7-8-0 with Vancouver in 2008-09.
2. The Canucks have won four of their last five home meetings with the Blue Jackets.
PREDICTION: Canucks 5, Blue Jackets 1. TAKE THE CANUCKS ML AND OVER 5.5 I don't bet puck lines :(